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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2007

State Public Health Director extends an alert after last week’s warning about food borne illness linked to ground beef consumption
2nd recall - still no Illinois cases of E. coli from consumption of recalled beef in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today issued an alert expanding last week’s warning about E. coli O157:H7, a specific strain of E. coli, which can be associated with the consumption of some ground beef products.  After last week’s recall from a Minnesota company, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced that a Michigan company has recalled 129,000 pounds of beef products due to possible contamination. 

The beef products were produced between March 1 and April 30, 2007, and were shipped to foodservice distribution centers and Marketplace stores in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Illinois. Because these products later became ground beef sold under many different retail brand names, consumers should check with their local retailer to determine whether they may have purchased any of the products subject to recall.  The possible contamination of beef products in this recall was discovered by the Michigan Department of Community Health as part of an illness investigation.

“We still have no cases in Illinois of anyone becoming sick with the same type of E.coli O157:H7 after eating these recalled ground beef products,” said Dr. Whitaker.  “But with the expanded recall we advise consumers to be extra careful. People should only eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160 ºF.  Anyone who thinks they may have experienced symptoms of illness after eating ground beef are urged to contact their health care provider.”

E. coli O157:H7 is a virulent strain of E.coli.  It causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools.  Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).  HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly.  The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. 

Products subject to recall include boxes of mechanically tenderized steaks and ground beef of varying weights. Labels on the boxes bear the establishment number “Est. 1947A” inside the USDA mark of inspection and a date code (on the top right corner of the label) between “060” and “120.” Only products with those date codes are subject to recall. Each box also bears a net weight declaration and the message “Manufactured for Gordon Food Service” or “Distributed by Gordon Food Service.”  For a detailed list of the recalled beef products, log on to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website at www.fsis.usda.gov.

Consumers with recalled beef products should return the items to the point of purchase.



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